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post #5 of Old 12-10-2010
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Matt, Some of the less approving advice above comes with the assumption that you would be heading offshore to far away locations and their comments should be well received; however, if you plan to spend your fledgling sailing time in near and coastal waters it is likely that you will be very successful. Let's just take Florida as an eaxmple of where you might hone your skills. From Tarpon Springs, just north of Tampa Bay, south to the Keys and back up the east coast to Jacksonville at the St. Johns River, you have about a thousand miles of coastline with easy daysails from one safe port to the next. Some areas such as within Tampa Bay, Charlotte Harbor, Pine Island Sound, Bayside Key Largo, Biscayne Bay, Indian River, & Saint Johns River have protected inland waters that will allow for plenty of safe novice sailing practice and short passages to the next safe harbor can be made with "buddy boats" that you encounter while cruising. A reliable outboard engine on a 27' to 30' boat would allow you to travel within the protected intracoastal waterway during times of poor weather. You could position yourself up the St. Johns River or the St. Lucie River during late august to early october when hurricane season is at it's peak and spend the winter cruising the Keys. After a season or two, you may decide to sail to the Bahamas where you will find another large area of pleasant sailing opportunities and choices to find protection in bad weather. I've been living aboard and making good weather choices and safe passages for forty years. There is a skill in managing risk that can reap great benefit. Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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